Acquired brain injury and identity: exploring narrative shifts following involvement in a multi-family outdoor adventure program.




Segal, David Sean

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In the aftermath of an acquired brain injury, many survivors and their family members struggle to maintain their preferred identities. This is particularly so given the relational nature of storytelling and the numerous power relations functioning to silence and restrict certain stories, while others are allowed to be told. This study employs a qualitative methodology, narrative constructionist inquiry, in order to examine the stories of three participants following their involvement in a multi-family outdoor adventure program for brain injury survivors. The aims of the program were to provide opportunities for families to engage in outdoor adventure activities together, such as hiking, sea kayaking and challenge courses, so they could strengthen their relationships with themselves, each other, and their communities. Through an exploration of their stories, valuable insights regarding the shifts in narrative identity that occurred following brain injury are illuminated. Further, reflections pertaining to the importance of social contexts, nature and adventure, and the value of hope in the construction of preferred identities are discussed. Finally, recommendations for future research and practice are offered.



Brain, Wounds and injuries, outdoor recreation